How to Choose a Niche – What Do I Blog About?

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how to choose a niche for your blogToday I’m going to show you how to choose a niche for your blog.  This is a critical step in the planning process because the right niche can make or break your blog – your income literally depends on choosing the right blogging niche.  *This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through these links.  Thank you for supporting this site!

Are you ready to start blogging but stop short when you think, “What do I blog about?”  You might already have an idea of what you want to do, but when you clarify your niche, you almost effortlessly define your audience, figure out what topics to write about, and build a relationship with your readers.

Choosing the right blogging niche is so important, which puts lots of pressure on us, right?  I know I get stressed out when I start a new site.

Why?  Because a lot rides on choosing the right blogging niche – this is what our business is all about!

Worried about choosing the wrong niche?  I get it.  This is a big step in your journey.

Take heart that even if you do learn how to choose a niche and choose one that’s not right for you, it’s not the end of the world.  If we make a mistake and learn from it, we still win.  We can always regroup, make adjustments, and tweak what we’re doing to change our results.

Did you know I have had three websites that have failed?

I put in all the work, thought I did all the right things, even made some decent money (so this whole process works!), but I made some fatal mistakes that led me to eventually take down those sites and start from scratch.

But I came out on the other side of that and I’m more experienced, more prepared, and more determined than ever to find out what works for me – hopefully helping you as I go.

There really is no guarantee in this business.  There is, however, a tried-and-true process that all successful sites are built upon.  But each person’s journey is different and each person brings a unique perspective to the table.

So, we can take the right steps and course-correct as we go.  And as long as we never give up, we never truly fail.

And when you know how to choose a niche, you can easily repeat the process with other online properties.

Now let’s talk niche selection!

What is a Niche?

A niche is your blog’s theme – the overall topic or focus of your blog.  Your niche can be anything at all.  From a general niche like sports or business to something narrow and dynamic like swimming for fitness or family budgeting.

A niche can be something you’re passionate about, or your hobby, something you’re interested in, a  product, a service, or even a topic you know nothing about – but is something you want to learn about.

Here are more examples of general and specific niches:

General Niches

  • Art
  • Entertainment
  • Business
  • Health
  • Recreation
  • Science
  • Shopping
  • Technology
Specific Niches

  • Crafts
  • Cooking
  • Costumes
  • Gardening
  • Graphics
  • Movie Reviews
  • Pet Care
  • Photography

Choosing the right niche is the first important step in building a money-making blog.  You want to put in your due diligence and take your time thinking about the best theme for your site.

A good place to start is to ask yourself: What am I passionate about?  What am I so good at, I could talk about it all day?  What is one problem I see in a particular area that I could provide a solution for?

You can even build a profitable blog reviewing products!  The possibilities for a great niche are endless!

What Makes for a Great Niche?

A great niche is:

  • In-demand – if there’s no demand, there’s no audience.
  • Not too broad – when you narrow down your niche, you build a connection with your audience.
  • Excites you – your passion will drive your motivation and keep you building your site even when you hit a roadblock.
  • Profitable – we are in this to build a real business and ultimately make money; if there’s no money in your niche, you can absolutely blog about it for your enjoyment but to build a business, you need to know where the money is.

How to Choose a Niche – Action Step

Take some time to think about what you would like to write about.

What are your hobbies?  What is something you love to do that really gets you jazzed?  What topic can you talk about all day long, never getting tired of it?

Do you think there’s a niche that looks like it could be profitable?  Write it down.

Think about problems you’ve faced and solved.  Could you write about that?

Start off general and begin to drill down to get to specific, narrow niches.  Come up with at least two or three good candidates.

Broad vs. Narrow

A broad niche like “travel” is impossible to own.  You’re competing with large travel companies, car rental companies, other travel sites and blogs…it’s just too big.

But what happens when we own a tighter niche?

For example, you could build a site about a particular type of travel, like backpacking.  Or you could blog about your family’s camping adventures.  Maybe you’re passionate about helping your readers choose the best luggage for their needs.

Do you see how, by going more narrow with your niche, you can reach an audience that is laser-focused on what you have to say?

By developing a tight niche, you automatically create a space that facilitates the development of a community, which creates the opportunity for your audience to get to know, like, and trust you.

How to Choose a Niche – Keyword Research

“How do I research my niche?”  There are a few ways you can do this.

My number one go-to method for researching any niche is keyword research.

Let’s back it up a minute.  What is a “keyword?”  A keyword is the word or phrase a user types into a search engine.  

By looking at what people are already looking for, we gain insight into what they want and need – and then we can meet their needs.

There are many different ways to research keywords.  I will be going into more detail in future posts, but for now, I recommend using a couple of different tools and these affordable keyword and SEO courses.

The first tool is the Google Keyword Planner.  This is a free tool that lets you see how many searches are being done in a month on a particular keyword.  You will need to create an AdWords account or login before you can use this tool.  

Here’s what you see when you’re logged in.  Click on “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.

how to choose a niche - google keyword planner

Which opens up options: 

how to choose a niche - google keyword planner 02

In the first box, type in a keyword, subject, or niche idea you want to research.  In this:

example, we’ll look at “dog training”:

how-to-choose-a-niche-google-keyword-planner-03

You’ll see I have words entered in the “Negative keywords” box.  Forget about that, for now.  Just click on “Get ideas.”

how-to-choose-a-niche-google-keyword-planner-04

You’ll get to a screen that looks like this.  This shows us that the keyword “dog training” gets over 90,000 searches a month.  That’s tells us that there’s indeed a demand.

how-to-choose-a-niche-google-keyword-planner-05

However, “dog training” is still pretty broad.  Let’s see what related keywords our tool brought back to us. how-to-choose-a-niche-google-keyword-planner-06

We see related keywords on the left and their monthly searches on the right.  For a niche, a good number is between 10,000 and 40,000 searches a month.

With this method, we are not looking at competition for two reasons.  First, because if you cover your topic thoroughly and in a unique way, with a unique voice, competition doesn’t really matter.  Second, when you overdeliver – when you do more and give more than anyone else in your niche is doing and giving – competition doesn’t matter.

That’s not to say that researching your competition doesn’t have a place.  Thorough research into your competition does give you an edge.

If you are interested in researching your niche and your competition, I recommend my second keyword research tool – Jaaxy.

Jaaxy is probably the easiest keyword research tool I’ve come across.  What’s really awesome is that you get 30 free keyword searches when you sign up for your free account!

jaaxy-keyword-tool-free-trial-01

After you click to sign up, you’re taken to this page.  Fill out your info and click “Create My Trial Account.”

jaaxy-keyword-tool-free-trial-02

Once you’re all signed up, you can enter a keyword phrase to search.

jaaxy-keyword-tool-free-trial-03

Click on “Find Keywords.”

jaaxy-keyword-tool-free-trial-04

You’ll see a list of keywords like in the image below.  On the left, a list of related keywords.  You’ll also see a colored dot for each keyword – red, yellow, or green – which gives us an idea of our competition and whether or not that keyword or phrase is “winnable.”

Green means you are good to go – write a keyword-focused page and move on.

Yellow is fine, too; fewer people searching and maybe a little more competition, but still winnable.

Red dots tell us that keyword is too competitive and we should find a better one.

jaaxy-keyword-tool-free-trial-05

The free account with Jaaxy only gives you so many searches and so many keywords for each search.  To get the full benefit, you want to upgrade to the paid version that’s about $19 a month.  But for this kind of insight and the fact that you save so much time on research, the cost is a very worthwhile investment.

jaaxy-keyword-tool-free-trial-06

How to Choose a Niche – Action Step

Alright, time to take action.  If you want to try out the Google Keyword Planner, do so now.  If you want to give Jaaxy a try – and what have you got to lose? – head on over and create a free account.

Then, start some keyword research for choosing a niche.  You can try out broad phrases or narrow, one- or two-word phrases or 4- and 5-word phrases.

If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below or contact me through my form.

What if I Already Know What My Niche Is?

If you already know how to choose a niche and what your niche is, all you need to do is get crystal clear on it, decide on what – if any – related topics you’ll be writing about, and use keyword research to dive deeper into your niche to find out what your audience wants to know.

Keyword research is useful for taking your niche and finding the keywords that people are looking for – so you can write to them, addressing their needs.  You don’t have to wonder what they want – you know!

Now you just need to create the content to bring them in.

Do I Only Blog About ONE Niche?

Ideally, yes.  However, there are exceptions.

You see, a blog that is focused pleases readers because they know exactly what to expect.  If you blog about cooking, they know to expect information about nutrition, recipes, shopping for food, money-saving ideas, and more.

If you’re unfocused and blog about cooking one day and fashion tips the next, you might lose your audience and you certainly would not be building connection and community.

The exception to this is if your topics are related.  For example, you might have a blog about family life, which would naturally include topics about parenting, children, marriage, shopping, cooking, and more.  See how those all relate?

I still would not blog about more than two or three related topics.  And remember what I said earlier about going too broad with your niche – you could get lost in the sea of blogs and websites out there.

But if you can cherry pick keywords and build a blog that has several narrow – but related – topics, go for it!

Summing Up

I think that about covers how to choose a niche for your blog or website.

To review:

  • Brainstorm niche ideas by thinking about your passions, hobbies, interests, knowledge, and experience.
  • Choose a niche that allows you to solve a problem or “fill a hole” in that niche.
  • Shoot for a narrow niche versus a broad niche.
  • Research keywords to target your audience and meet their needs

How to Choose a Niche – Action Step

Your last one!  Alright, you’ve brainstormed ideas, researched keywords, and now it’s time to choose your niche.

Don’t panic – you can take as long as you need.  But don’t let “paralysis of analysis” stop you from getting started and taking action.

“I tried for so long to figure out where I stood in the blogging world that I felt paralyzed in going forward (the paralysis of analysis that you mentioned) and I finally got to the point of feeling like FORGET IT. I am doing this, badly or not…whatever, I am doing it and I will figure it out as I go.”

~ Ruth

Remember that your niche should excite you and ignite your passion!  You have a LOT of work ahead of you, so you need to love what you do.

In the coming days, we’ll look at how to start a blog to make money, how to write content and structure your posts, how to market, how to monetize, and so much more!

If you have any questions about choosing a niche to blog about, let me know in the comments!


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6 thoughts on “How to Choose a Niche – What Do I Blog About?

  • August 9, 2016 at 1:41 PM
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    Another great post full of insight and direction. My brain is humming!

    Reply
    • August 9, 2016 at 3:26 PM
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      Thank you! I do my best to cover everything in a way that’s understandable and easy to implement. Glad you’re enjoying the series!

      Reply
  • August 10, 2016 at 12:47 PM
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    This is a awesome post! Your covered the topic thoroughly, gave great advice, and provided the action steps to get started.

    Reply
    • August 10, 2016 at 1:37 PM
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      Thanks, Wendy! The action is what is so important, and I know I like it when someone tells me exactly what to do!

      Reply
  • March 2, 2017 at 4:01 PM
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    I think the #1 thing about choosing a niche is just what you said, Julie — you MUST have passion for it. No sense in started a blog about kids crafts…when you can’t stand kids. Come from a place of service and purpose…and GO for it! Again, wonderful read <3

    Reply
    • March 2, 2017 at 6:48 PM
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      Yes! You gotta hit all the important points because they all work together!

      Reply

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